Sci & Tech

ISRO’s lithium-ion cells to set all-electric vehicles era rolling

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday announced that it is ready to transfer lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries technology to private industry to help India realise the dream of completing the transition to electric vehicles by 2030.

ISRO Chairman K Sivan told Express that space-grade li-ion batteries developed by Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre was an ideal candidate for use in electric vehicles, with certain modifications. Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) had already tested the ISRO batteries and found them suitable for automotive systems.

“Government-level discussions are going on to find suitable industrial partners and manufacture commercial grade li-ion batteries, which are cost-effective. From our side, we are ready to share the technology. Currently, li-ion batteries are being imported from countries like China and Japan, which make the prices of electric vehicles less attractive,” he said.

Sivan said the ISRO has been using in-house li-ion batteries to power satellites and launch vehicles. “During Thursday’s GSLV-F08 launch, li-ion batteries were used to power the new electro mechanical actuation system and their performance has been satisfactory prompting the Union government to see them as a ‘game changer’.

To meet ISRO’s needs, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL). “We transferred the technology to the BHEL to produce space-grade batteries. To produce commercial grade batteries for electric vehicles, we welcome any industry partner,” he said. Already, a panel headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha had recommended commercial use of ISRO’s li-ion battery technology under the ‘Make In India’ initiative for electric vehicles.

In October last year, NITI Aayog member V K Saraswat had said India has to set up large lithium-ion battery manufacturing plants to become a global player in electric vehicles technology market. Several countries across the world are already turning the spotlight on electric vehicles. In Norway, 60 per cent of all cars sold are electric/hybrid. Denmark has declared full-conversion to electric vehicles by 2025. Sales in China have grown three-fold last year. In electric two-wheelers, China is the global leader with over 24 million sold a year and over 120 million in operation. A total of 80,000 electric buses were added last year, targeting 70 per cent of its entire fleet electrified by 2020.

Key issues

❶ India faces challenges as privately-owned vehicles are the prime mode of transport in the country, reinforcing the importance of an alternative mobility future

❷ Nearly 50,000 new motor vehicles are registered in India per day, with a 10 per cent increase in vehicle registration annually in the past decade

❸ Despite a very low number of vehicles per capita, traffic congestion and pollution are already serious issues in India

❹ According to a 2016 World Health Organisation study, India is home to 10 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities

❺ In 2015, India imported more than 80 per cent of its oil at a cost of Rs 4.2 lakh crore

❻ Traffic accidents cause around 1.5 lakh deaths per year on Indian roads. Shared, electric and connected mobility is future

❼ India can save 64 per cent of anticipated passenger road-based mobility-related energy demand and 37 per cent of carbon emissions in 2030 by pursuing a shared, electric, and connected mobility future. This would result in a reduction of 156 million tonnes in diesel and petrol consumption for that year. At US $52 per barrel of crude, this would imply a net savings of roughly Rs 3.9 lakh crore (approximately US $60 billion in 2030).

By: New Indian Express

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